From where I’m from it’s always been a stigma wearing your hair curly. Men or women with curly hair are bullied, made fun of or stereotyped while growing up. Kids get low cuts the moment their hair start to go through the changing phase. Girls are taken to the salon every week to get their curls tamed because curls are not “good hair”, I grew into this culture myself where Hispanics – Spanish, specially Dominicans are very aware of how your hair looks and how they believe it should look like.
Let me tell you a story about this kid who used to go to school and always get a very short haircut, but wished to had long straight hair like his dad. He would try every single product he found in his house to try to make it look like exactly the same, but nothing ever worked. Growing up he started going to the salon with his mom, he would watch her blow dry her hair once or twice every week. After a few trips to the salon he started disliking his own hair and believing that his mom, who used to have curly hair, had ruined his genes in that matter. At school, in the streets, in his house and with his family, people would often joke around him and call his hair “nappy”.
Then it came to the years of going out and partying. He was now in the “public eye” (to high-schoolers). He became self-conscious about grooming so the pressure increased to have straight hair before he went out every time. The day of his confirmation ceremony he told his mother he wanted to wear straight hair for that occasion, so she did him the favor and took him to get a quick blow dry.
He arrived at church, did the line of the confirmation, and as he walked forward every single one started looking at his hair and making fun of it by whispering to the person next to them about it. Now, let’s imagine how he felt. He was not a kid anymore and still, they were making fun of his intentions and how his hair looked. All he wanted was to look “better” because he thought his curls were ugly and he wanted to look different. However, he boosted his confidence up in that same instant, realized his hair looked better than all of the boys in the venue, and took the best family portrait.
Fast-forward to the present, that guy was me. I grew up with so many insecurities about my curly hair, believing everything that was said around me. I kind of jokingly blamed my mother for having her Spanish genes dominate over my father’s, constantly. Truth is, I didn’t stop being harsh on my hair until it became very unhealthy and starting falling off. When I moved to New York I also realized that people didn’t give a damn about my hair, they saw me for who I am, with and without the curls.
So I started wearing my hair curly every other night after my workouts and the compliments started coming in. People would tell me in the streets, at events, everywhere. One day I asked my hairstylist which type of product she believed would be the best to smoothing my curls and make them look soft and styled, she introduced me to the Smooth Infusion line from Aveda. This line specializes in smoothing and treating curly hair. To my surprise, my hair was extremely soft and less damaged, the curls are very manageable and the hair grew back in the bald spots.
The reason why I’m dedicating this post to my experience with curly hair is because there is a stigma and tons of stereotypes within society based on ignorance and superiority. Part of being happy with yourself is loving yourself naturally without any alterations or changes. You are beautiful, unique and exotic in your own way, cherish that! Don’t be that kid that I used to be for so many years, living under insecurities and letting other’s opinions control the way I wanted to look like.
A few days ago I posted a picture on Instagram and believe it or not, the first ones to criticize my hair were those close to me, friends and members of family from back home. I really didn’t let that bother me since I already know their way of thinking and I also know my way of thinking now. Anyways, today I can assure you that I wear my curls with pride and I actually feel more attractive in them.. Funny, huh?